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Larry Stalcup, AgFax Southwest Cotton Editor

Debra L Ferguson, AgFax Media Managing Editor  


Special thanks to PhytoGen, the exclusive sponsor of AgFax Southwest Cotton. 



Tropical Storm (or Hurricane) Harvey is expected to strike the Texas Gulf Coast later this week. This morning (8/23), The Weather Channel projected that the storm would redevelop in the Gulf of Mexico and send heavy rain and possible flooding to the Texas coast by Friday. Let’s hope Harvey doesn’t bear down on cotton harvest.


August rains continue in the Panhandle and South Plains and it’s also wet around El Paso. The Rolling Plains could use more showers. Upper Coast yields are good and the forecast calls for plenty of bales in the Blacklands.


Bring on the heat units for Oklahoma and Kansas cotton.


Dryland cotton yields may hit 3 to 3.5 bales in the northern Panhandle. Wow! 


August 28: Hansford & Hutchinson Cotton Production meeting near Spearman, Texas at 11 a.m., Adobe Walls Gin. Topics: Harvest aides and timing and late season pests. Call 806-878-4026 for more info.





Gaylon Morgan, Texas A&M AgriLife State Cotton Specialist, College Station: “The Haskell, Munday and Stamford areas have a good looking crop – both dryland and irrigated. As you get down to the San Angelo area, fields that made it through the initial stand establishment look good. Much of the overall Rolling Plains has not had uniform rainfall all year.


“In the Upper Gulf Coast, we hand harvested some plants yesterday (8/21) in Colorado County. It really looked good. In the southern Blacklands, defoliation is well under way and some harvesting has started. In the Brazos Bottom, dryland is getting defoliated this week. Irrigated is a little further out.


“We had a Waco area field day last week in Crawford. The cotton looked good.”


Randy Boman, Oklahoma State University Cotton Research Director, Cotton Extension Program Leader, Altus: “We’ve managed to pick up some timely rain in recent weeks. Some of the early irrigated cotton is beginning to cutout and may finish up early. The later planted dryland will need some help in September and October.


“With the cooler temperatures we’ve had, heat units have been a concern. June was about 6% above normal on heat units. The last half of July was about average. But as we have cooled down in much of August, we’re 18% below average in heat units for the month.


“The rainfall has been a good tradeoff for cooler than normal daytime highs. The lower temps make rain go farther because of a lower crop evapotranspiration. We’re now getting back to normal on temps for August, and overall, our dryland looks really good. We just need an open fall like we had last year.


“There are still a few aphids around, as well as some stinkbugs in areas north of Altus near Carnegie. A handful of fields have been sprayed for bollworm pressure. It’s more of a protection spray than treating for actual threshold numbers. If we don’t have to spray, that’s great. We have many beneficials in the field that are bollworm eaters.”


Justin Chopelas, JWC Consulting, Odem, Texas: “We’re wrapping up harvest – and it’s fantastic – better than we’ve ever seen. Yields have been from 750 pounds per acre to some over 2,000 pounds. The majority of the fields I look over will average 3 bales or more. I have more fields that have averaged over 3.5 bales than I do that average fewer than 2 bales. For dryland production, that’s really good.


“So everyone is happy. We’re just waiting for the gins to catch up. There’s some chance for rain this weekend from the tropical system that is forming down in the gulf. That would get us started on a good profile for next year.”




Mike McHugh, Southwest Texas Ag Consultants, Uvalde, Texas: “We’re 25 to 30% defoliated and will probably be at 50% by this time next week. The cotton looks good, even though nothing is ginned yet. My guess is there will be a lot of 3 to 4-bale cotton. Even the dryland is making 2.5 to 3 bales. We’ve dodged all of the weather and been very lucky.


“There is some late cotton in the area where guys are having to spray for whiteflies, which makes up about 10% of our crop. Some guys are seeing  honeydew, so they’ll have an additional $30 to $40 per acre in spraying costs.”


Tom Studnicka, Studnicka Consulting, Belle Plaine, Kansas: “We’ve had more rain in some areas and had to go with another round of PGRs. Overall fruit load looks very good. We should end up with a very good crop with well above average yields. We expect at least 3 bales-plus on the irrigated and 2 bales or better on dryland. About 10% of the crop is still a little late. It will certainly benefit from a good fall.


“We’ve had a few stinkbug issues but nothing bad. There have been some issues with pigweeds re-growing after early dicamba shots. But overall weed control has been good.


“Our early-planted soybeans are going to be average, 30 to 40 bushels per acre. Mid-range-planted beans have the potential to see high yields. Dryland corn is only in the 70 to 90 bushel range.” 



Emi Kimura, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Area Agronomist, Vernon: "We received a good amount of rain last week. We really needed it to save dryland fields over much of the Rolling Plains. The southern Rolling Plains cotton seems to be better looking than the northern area, where many producers are still struggling with short dryland crops.


“We’re seeing some 2, 4-d drift damage on a lot of XtendFlex cotton. I don’t think it’s from Enlist cotton treatments because we have very few acres planted in those varieties. The drift is probably from producers spraying 2, 4-d on other land. Many farmers are talking about changing to Enlist because of this problem.


“We’re not hearing of any bacterial blight, likely because it has been too dry to spread any infestation. I don’t know how our cotton yields will turn out. There is too much variation between locations.”


Pete Dotray, Texas Tech University Weed Scientist (joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife), Lubbock: “Cotton is loading up and fields look tremendous. Looking from the road and top of the canopy, there are no weeds. However, there may be a few small ones coming on.


“We have monitored late season emergence. Even Palmer amaranth that emerges late still produces seed. We still need to try to control the late emerging ones. In our area of the High Plains it will be about October 12 before this is not an issue. Until then, guys are encouraged to manage those small weeds. I’m seeing a lot of hoe crews out there, so they are taking the steps needed.”


Kate Harrell, Texas A&M AgriLife IPM Agent, Jackson, Wharton & Matagorda Counties: “We’re harvesting and just hoping it doesn’t rain. The crop is looking pretty good. Yields are being reported at anywhere from about 2 bales per acre on the lower end to 4.1 bales on better cotton. We had some whiteflies that needed to be sprayed late in the season. But for the most part guys were defoliating and whiteflies were dying.


“I’m hearing about good corn yields and sorghum has also looked good.”


Orlando Flores, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, El Paso County: “We’ve been getting a lot of unseasonal rainfall, actually too much rain. As long as you have water in a fully irrigated valley, you don’t need a lot of rain.


“The upland and pima both look outstanding. The cotton also looks good up into New Mexico toward Las Cruces, except for areas that had hail earlier this summer. With all of the rain, most people have pixed and will need more PGRs because the rain keeps coming.


“We have had issues with southwestern rust. It’s nothing major and it is controllable. There have been some hotspots of lygus and bollworms, but nothing major.”



Kyle Aljoe, Crop Quest Consulting, Dimmitt, Texas: “We’ve been applying PGRs hard and heavy to keep growth under control after all of the rain we’ve had. Aerial applicators are just barely keeping up with us. Growth is anywhere from 2 to 5 NAWF on average. We really need some dry weather and heat units on this cotton. We’re looking good if we can just carry it out and get the heat units we need to finish it.


“Weed control as a whole has been good in most fields. We’ve had to go back and hit a few fields after the rain, but overall it’s looking good. I have both LibertyLink and dicamba fields. Another consultant has Enlist. It looks good, too.


“We’re not seeing any insect pressure, other than traces of lygus once in a while. We’re not seeing bollworms yet. There is a little verticillium wilt showing up. It’s not bad because we have resistant varieties.


“Our biggest problem now is we need corn silage trucks running and we can’t get in the field. It’s too muddy. We should have started silage harvest at the end of last week. Then we got another inch of rain last night (8/20). The rain has been great for corn for grain silage. We haven’t had to irrigate for 2 weeks.


“We’re seeing some sugarcane aphid starting to show up in sorghum, which we’ll monitor closely.”


Tim Ballinger, Ballinger Innovative Agronomics, Dumas, Texas: “My cotton is 80 to 105 days in the ground this week. Most was planted by about May 18. It’s critical that I should have open bolls by 110 days and by August 20, based on a May 5 planting date. So we’re 10 to 14 days behind schedule. We need a warm, dry September and October to help us out.


“We’re behind, but the crop looks great. It’s all there. I’m pushing some 3 to 3.5-bale dryland – yes dryland – and definitely some 3.5- to 4-bale irrigated. The rains have helped us out because they came at peak water use. We have awesome fruit retention with very little shedding. We just need to use PGRs efficiently to hold vegetation down and promote boll development.


“Insects are of no concern. We’ve also had good control of resistant pigweed with Liberty varieties.


“Our corn is awesome and is pretty well made. We’ll start cutting silage next week. We had some late season spider mite pressure, but we should still have a record corn crop on our hands, just like we could have a record cotton crop.”


Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist, Lubbock: “Lack of moisture is certainly not an issue for a large part of our area. We had another half-inch last night (8/21). Dryland fields that didn’t look good several weeks ago are looking a lot better.


“This is our last week to put on effective blooms. Most cotton has more potential fruiting nodes than will actually produce bolls. We could see some that will not mature based on the calendar date. Most of the crop needs a good, open September.


“We’re testing weed outbreaks with all of the rain, but I’m still seeing a lot of clean fields. A cooler August is causing verticillium to show up. But we were looking for that after what we saw last year. There’s no big outbreak and we will likely see spots of vert every year. We’re still not seeing any major issues with insects.”


Randy Norton, University of Arizona Extension Cotton Specialist, Safford: “I just had a corn field day in southeast Arizona to look at some new hybrids. While in the area I saw some great looking cotton – and it’s at an elevation of 4,400 feet. One of my highest yielding variety trials averaged 4.8 bales per acre in that Sulphur Spring Valley area. Yields this year will depend on how early it freezes. The official freeze date there is the end of October, but it usually doesn’t freeze until about Thanksgiving.


“The crop also looks good in central Arizona. Growers are looking at their final waterings. There have been a lot of acres sprayed for lygus. Fortunately, that is the first insecticide treatment those guys have had to do this year.


“In the Yuma area, defoliation continues, harvest remains steady and should be completed by mid-September.”  




AgFax News Links   

Texas Producer Protection Act: 2 New Rules to Know Before Sept. 1   8-21


Cotton Growth Stages: Cutout – Everything You Should Know   8-21


Cottonseed Proposal, FY18: Details You Need to Know About Generic Base   8-15


Cleveland on Cotton: Promising Crop Makes 70 Cent Dec. Looking Doubtful   8-18


Rose on Cotton: Bears on a Roll – Keep Your Eye on Dec.   8-18


Cleveland on Cotton: Promising Crop Makes 70 Cent Dec. Looking Doubtful   8-18


Texas: Military Veteran Ag Workshop, Dayton, Sept. 16


Texas Reports: Forage Production Good Despite Wet Weather, Pests, Weeds 8-22


Cotton Growth Stages: Cutout – Everything You Should Know 8-21


Oklahoma Pecans: Early Rains May Bring Pecan Weevil Out 8-21


Texas Producer Protection Act: 2 New Rules to Know Before Sept. 1 8-21


Oklahoma Wheat: Disease, Insect Considerations to Make Before Planting This Fall 8-18


Wheat: Texas Researchers Find Leaf Wax Makes a Difference in Drought-Tolerance 8-18


Texas: Wheat Variety ‘Picks’ Offered Statewide by AgriLife Extension 8-17


Texas West Plains: Cotton Ranges from Starting Bloom to Hard Cut-Out 8-17





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